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Commentary - Senator encourages 'staycations' this summer

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commentaries Alexandria, 56308
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By Senator Torrey Westrom, R-District 12, Elbow Lake, MN

A staycation is when families and individuals take part in leisure activities close to or at home. This form of vacationing allows for a wide variety of short trips such as visiting local tourist sites, campgrounds and museums. It is a frugal way to enjoy time away from home and with your family, without spending too much money. I'd encourage you to try one!

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There are so many ways to spend a staycation. Listed are some local trails, parks, museums and events that may interest you and your family and friends.

Trails:

The Central Lakes Trail is a scenic 55-mile route that passes through three counties: Douglas, Grant and Otter Tail. It starts in Osakis and goes northwest across the county to Ashby. It then treks west to Fergus Falls and passes through Alexandria.

Lake Wobegon Trail spans 50 miles from St. Joseph to Osakis. The trail offers beautiful scenery of woodlands, wetlands and lakes.

Glacial Lakes State Trail covers exceptional rural scenery for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, Kandiyohi/Stearns County line, Richmond and Roscoe.

Parks:

Tipsinah Mounds Park and Campground sits on Pomme de Terre Lake located near Elbow Lake. This campground offers a public boat launch, swimming beach, picnic shelter and full camping amenities. More details can be found at www.tipsinahmoundscampground.com.

Big Stone Lake State Park is located in Ortonville and offers a picnic area, boat launch, swimming beach, hiking trails and camping.

Glacial Lakes State Park is situated in Starbuck where you can swim, fish, boat, camp and picnic. The park also has trails where you can go horseback riding.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource website lists all the state parks and trails in Minnesota at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/map.html and http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/list.html if there are other parks and trails you would like to visit.

Museums:

Runestone Museum is located in Alexandria and offers a look into the history of early pioneer life and Native Americans, along with a Minnesota wildlife display.

Wilkin County Museum is located in Breckenridge and has an exhibit that depicts the history of Wilkin County.

Grant County Historical Museum, located in Elbow Lake, displays items of local history that include fossils of prehistoric creatures, collection of beaded American Indian garments and weapons, birch bark canoe, scale model of Fort Pomme de Terre, and pioneer collections.

Events:

District 12 is home to eight county fairs and numerous city and town festivals. To learn which county fair is nearest you and best fits your schedule, go to www.mfcf.com/members.htm. Also, to find a list of city and town festivals for you to choose from, visit www.exploreminnesota.com/events/festivals-events/index.aspx.

To find more trails, parks, museums and events in your area, visit Explore Minnesota at www.exploreminnesota.com. This site provides a wide variety of information on places to visit and things to do in Minnesota. In addition, it provides lists of amusement parks, zoos, resorts, theaters and much more! You can also sign up to receive their monthly newsletter on events happening around the state.

I hope this information is profitable for you. So, turn off that cell phone, shut down your work computer, set aside outside distractions, and make this a family fun time to plan and execute. You can stay at home, find a campground, hotel, or someplace close to home, and still be on vacation. You'll find treasures that you may not have known existed. Save money, vacation more often, and enjoy the summer with family and friends!

• • •

Senator Torrey Westrom encourages and appreciates citizen input. He can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail at sen.torrey.westrom@senate.mn, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

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